As a female college student who decided to transfer to a new school this year, I would have never imagined myself living in a frat house. As I was thrilled to be accepted into the school of my dreams, I also had very little time to find a place to live. While the options were few, I resorted to living with 4 guys in a house about 10 minutes away from campus. It was cheap, spacious, and close by, so why not? Yet it did not take me long to figure out that this wasn’t just a house of 4 friends who are in the same frat, this was the frat house. Parties, mixers, pregames, hangouts, they were all at this house. After 4 months so far, I can say I have learned a lot about greek life and guys in general, the good and the bad. Here are a few things I have learned:
1. Although Greek Life looks glamorous and fun on the outside, the reality is far from the image it portrays.
The guys I lived with all seemed to be good friends. But the longer I lived with them, I realized it was just out of convenience and being in the same fraternity. Outside of greek events and parties, they hardly ever spent time together like friends usually do during the week. And if so, it was because they didn’t have any friends outside of their frat. I noticed a lot of the friendships were like this. All of the guys knew each other, can talk to each other, get drunk together, but as soon as it gets any deeper to being real friends, it stops there. I realized how superficial it was and how it seems to be more for show than actually making a community of true friends.
2. Guys are messy.
This might be a given but it is true. Dirty dishes, sticky floors, trash overflow, etc. But I don’t think it was because they’re necessarily lazy, I felt like they thought they were too busy to clean up. Despite all of us having busy schedules I still tried my best to clean up after myself. This was particularly frustrating for me because no one’s time is ever too important to be living carelessly in a messy home.
3. No matter how well rounded they were, they still did not respect women.
The frat was relatively new and more diverse than most of the frats on campus. A lot of the guys had excellent reputations. They had good grades, volunteer experience, were involved in clubs and other organizations. And while most of them are great guys, somehow they still felt entitled to women and talked about them disrespectfully. Most people wouldn’t know, but in private I heard many conversations of how they truly saw women, which was appalling to me. And looking to hook up with girls was as common as in any other frat. The walls were thin as well, which was a great lullaby to sleep to.
4. Drugs are a daily routine.
I don’t think a day goes by where the house doesn’t smell like marijuana. And yet somehow when they are high, that is when they are the nicest to me. Otherwise, I don’t really exist to them.
5. It really is run like a business.
While most people in greek life argue that the dues go toward philanthropy events, social events, and funds to keep the frat running, this is not true. Money is spent towards those things, but the majority of it goes to social events such as: parties, alcohol, supplies, beer pong tables, and formal.
6. While crashing the parties were always fun, it was actually very lonely.
During the week, most of us were never home due to our busy schedules. However, even when we were there, they made no effort to talk to me or make me feel at home. Yet I was never sure if it was just because I was a girl who had nothing in common with them, or because I am not involved in Greek life so I was almost intruding their exclusive territory.
7. Once you have an established group, ahem a frat or sorority, social skills seem to deteriorate.
I understand why people want to have a small community and friend group in a large school setting, but I don’t understand why once they find that niche they stop trying to meet or befriend anyone else. Also, old friends become less important to them. A good friend of mine actually joined the same fraternity, and our friendship declined significantly afterwards. All his time was devoted to the frat, so I became like last seasons Target collection in return for a new Louis Vuitton tie I guess. Plus, out of the 60-70 people in the frat, you are bound to clique with maybe a handful of them, but not every single one of them. Which to them might be enough, but to settle for that and stop trying to meet new people is beyond me.
8. Frats are a lot like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Like I said earlier, this frat was new and diverse with many reputable guys. On an individual level, everyone can see that. When talking one on one with them, most of them really are good guys who are going to go far. However, when they were all together somehow they turned into this sea of pretentious douchebags. They were acting like the stereotypical frat bro. Which is funny because they pride themselves in not being that type of frat, yet when they’re all together that is exactly what they become.
9. People always ask me if the parties are crazy or if I have ever slept with my roommates, but it was actually the opposite of what people expect.
Don’t get me wrong, the parties were fun; but they were in no way like project X or Miami spring break type of parties. The cheap vodka, sweaty dance floor, and crowded spaces were not as glamorous as they seem. And in order to sleep with them, they would have to acknowledge my existence first so that was never a thing.
10. Quality over quantity.
I learned to be thankful for the true friends I made this semester. While, I may not go to these nice formals, cool mixers, and all these fun greek events, I can honestly say the friends I have made are going to be lifelong. Although the pressure and exclusiveness of greek life seem appealing on the outside, I have seen the time, money, and friendships it takes a toll on. So if anyone feels like they’re not good enough because they aren’t in a frat or sorority, there is no reason to be. I always say it is better to have a few quality friends than a lot of halfway there, fake friends.
I am not trying to discourage people from joining Greek life, I am simply sharing my experiences as a third party looking in. I have seen the positives and drawbacks, and I have learned a lot from them. But at the end of the day, you choose who your friends are. Choose wisely though, because they are a direct reflection of who you are.